From Publishers Weekly
Westerners tend to view the Himalayas as either a troubled political region or a mountain climbing mecca, but neither fully captures the place revealed in this magnificent book. Photographer Valli spent two decades documenting the Himalayan region and its peoples. His photographs, reproduced here in giant two-page spreads, are interspersed with short essays by cultural anthropologist de Sales, who examines how the area is being affected by the incursions of the 21st century. Many of Vallis images lack any trace of the modern worldyaks steam in the sun, women carry heavy bundles on faint trails. Familiar views of shepherds huddled against a snowstorm make riverside fishing scenes seem even more lush and green. Valli, who learned local languages and whose love for the region is palpable, moves among his subjects easily; people young and old gaze into his lens with varying degrees of amusement. These portraits are the best part of the book, revealing a way of life that will be unimaginably foreign to most readers. "During my pilgrimages and encounters, I finally dissolved into these Himalaya," Valli writes. "Under their tutelage, this high mountain world, this gigantic barrier of rock and snow that I had thought of as a vast, hostile, impassable wall revealed itself... to be a place of passage." 200 color plates.
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About the Author
Éric Valli lived for many years in the Himalaya and is one of the region's best-known photographers. He is a regular contributor to Géo
and National Geographic
and the author of numerous books, including Abrams' Himalaya
, about the making of his first feature-length film. He now lives in Paris. Anne de Sales is a cultural anthropologist for the CNRS, the national organization for scientific research, in Paris. She spent a decade in Nepal and has written several books on shamanism.